Forum OpenACS CMS: Needed: a detailed investigation into the status of the existing old CMS

Dear people,

The community plans to launch these OpenACS standard packages:

External authentication - Collaboraid - June
Workflow - Collaboraid - March
LDAP integration - Collaboraid - Early May
Categorization - Timo - Mid May
Mailing list manager - S & R - Mid June
User profiling - Jeff Davis - End May
ETP 2 (kind of)  - Dave B, Jun Y - Mid June
Research module - Carl B - September
Bounce management - Mat Kovach - Mid May

So what it looks like is that round about July, we’re going to be in a good position if we wanted to make a new content management package.

Before then, what we really need, I think, is for someone to do a detailed investigation into the status of the existing old CMS. Everyone says it truly is the all-the-bells-and-whistles CMS. It doesn’t have the new workflow and the UI is terrible. What we need is a brief description of all its major problems and a breakdown of the hours needed to fix that problem. Then, it might be possible for some of us to scratch up some funds to fix it. However if it is just too expensive and time consuming to fix, it might be better to make a new one, once the basic set of packages above are delivered.

What do you think?

Hi Danielle,

This sounds really great that there are so many new and essential releases coming.

Concerning CMS; we tried to get a customer to pay for fixing the old CMS, but it was not possible as soon as we compared it to open source CMSs like Plone (Zope) or Midgard. The problem I think is, that there are already so many mature open source CMS out there that it will be quite difficult to get a sponsor as the market for CMS is quite saturated. And there are commercial products such as Hyperwave or Stellent that are also targeting now for medium-sized companies and not only big organisations that happened to pay EUR 200000+ for a CMS.

We built our own CMS for the United Nations, and we are tuning the application at the moment. The IT Head promised to release it as soon as we finished polishing it. I hope that can help you. The downisde of that module is that it does not fully rely on the cr data model.


Hi Gregor,

Good luck with the 'polishing' :) I was wondering... how much effort do you think would it take to get your CMS to play nicely with the CR? A few days of programming? A few weeks? :)


max. 40 man days, to make it CR compatible.


our CMS has 242 files at present - so that's why I estimate about 40 days :-)


Hi Danielle,

I don't remember giving a Mid June commitment.  Did you do that DaveB?  :)

Anyway like what I have said both me and DaveB will be working to move BCMS forward.  I have also another new guy (Jeff, not Jeff Davis), which I have already started briefing with OACS, CR and BCMS a few days ago.  I have started refactoring my old code.  If Jeff is not able to get our new project by May and we are likely to hit that Mid June commitment.  Or if we get a project to move BCMS forward then we might not as well wait for those other projects.  And maybe have it as early as end of May.

You can muck around demo site here:

Right now the immediate timeline is for me to finish my refactored code.  Have Jeff do a 2nd UI for BCMS, which should also serve his training for CR and BCMS.  After which bring the UI that is being used on the demo site to use the new refactored code.  Maybe if time and resources permit create a 3rd UI that will use BCMS and the new workflow.  I think I should also start making some SIMPLE docs after the code refactor is finished, which should help DaveB and subsequently evolve to be the docs to be used by other developers when its released.

That is the plan, but then again it will be volunteer effort.  I have bills and rent to pay, so client projects will sadly come first.  But I have put some effort and time in it.  So we have a working one (see demo site), but I am not just happy to release it.  Right now I have 3 packages and a lot of refactored code.

Regarding the real question of thread:  "Needed: a detailed investigation into the status of the existing old CMS"  I believe the CMS in functionaly very very good.  Also if someone is able to change its UI its a big improvement.  But for me on a business perspective I can not invest time and resources on it.  Because I have already set my goal that I need something that I can build custom for a client.  No matter how complete or good the UI is, if it takes a long time for me to customize it I can not sell it.  So if the current CMS is easy to customize, then why is it still in its current state despite having a feedback that its UI is horrible for such a long time.  Also if the design is not to easily put OACS core stuff together.  Then I think I can not go with it.  For example now that Lars has put a new workflow package, how can the current CMS use that?  Instead of using the old acs-workflow?

I also think that the current CMS is not the real CMS, the real CMS is CR.  Not CMS.  But CMS is the only current package that makes use of CR fully and properly.  Also CMS has more functions than what a CMS should have.  Because I think historically CMS was a separate app.

Anyway as for me its just an good bonus if I get BCMS as part of OACS.  I would be nice, but I need to put some effort and investment on it to put hopefully some food on the table.  My current analysis is that I can not gamble with the current CMS.


Can anyone please tell me if the documentation for the ACS CMS is online anywhere?

Just would like to give an update about BCMS.

- I have run through the code and refactored a good amount of the code in my spare time.  Maybe 1 more weekend hack and it should be in shape.  I can not devote much of my time to this as I am working on a long term project for a client.

- Jeff Lu is getting the hang of OpenACS, CR and BCMS.  He has already made a UI package for BCMS as his tutorial for OpenACS, CR and BCMS.  Also it does show the most of the refactored code still works.  Or some of them fixed after Jeff used the new ones and got some errors.

- Dave is busy with other things.  I guess that leaves the pressure for me to create a high level doc... hmmm bad.

- We will be getting a client project, so Jeff will be off in putting time to BCMS.  This means no big progress until end of May.  We do however may still hit the Mid June estimated time.

Thanks if there is anyone else that will like to pitch in please post.


I'd like to offer my time/support. I am just getting started with OACS though so don't know how much help I can be... feel free to email me if you have any work that you think I could help with;)

Hi Tammy,

Thanks.  If you think you can make a UI package that will be great.  I will have to put the code in a public CVS though.  If you are still learning OpenACS but have some ideas of a UI that will be great.  Some screenshots or something.  No promises that it will be implemented.


Some more progress made.  The Wizard UI in the demo site has started to be ported to the new refactored core code.  A good part is already running.  A crude admin pages to set which folder in CR to be manage was added.  Danielle has agreed to be a tester.  That is all.  I assume less activity in the coming weeks, unless someone picks up.

Hi Jun,

Well I'll give something a try! I'm assuming you mean building a sample UI that uses the BCMS. Don't I need the BCMS code to do that with?! Is there any sort of specific application/usage you are looking for in the UI? Just point me to any code/docs/examples I will need to use...


I have committed the packages in contrib CVS.  We have made further bug fixing, these bugs arosed from my refactoring of a code.  Code got deleted, etc. got fixed.  I have also made a overview document.  I will try to start to make a standards document.

I will try to post updates as it happens.

Hello All,

I find this discussion fascinating as a user of ETP, I just haven't gotten my brain around CMS yet, but will spend the better part of June trying to gain an understanding of both the CR and CMS.


But for now, I've downloaded and installed your 3 related BCMS packages. I don't want to break anything that is currently installed and was wondering what the root folders should be set too. Should I create a new mount point for ETP and let BCMS take it over?

Also what should bcms_root_folder_id and root_folder_id be set too...

I'm interested in giving this a whirl and I'm currently running the 4.6.3 beta 1 on postgresql.


Hi Gilbert,

It isn't still an out of the box install yet.  Also its not compatible with ETP, but may likely be compatible with aD's CMS.

bcms_root_folder_id should not be there anymore... hehehe.  I also have a Word doc, would you like to have those to give you an overview?  Also bcms-ui-wizard on www/admin has pages to set the package parameters.  Right now we are only concerned with 3 parameters.  root_folder_id, template_root_folder_id and context.  I think context is not yet there.

Anyway the current state is not yet ready to take a whirl, but if you are really interested in helping out in the development that would be great.  Older code is in much better state of taking a whirl.

Right now a client project will take much of the resource, so development will start again about June.


Ok Gilbert has volunteered to convert the Word Doc to Docbook format.  He will also be an additional tester.

This is great, we are moving even slowly.  But we are moving.

Ok just chatted with Lars.  Lars will try to fit in his very busy sched to code review and be general advisor for BCMS.

Lets do a recap:

Developer - Me, Jeff Lu and Dave B.
Advisor - Lars
Document - Gilbert
Testing - Dani and Gilbert
Cheer Leader - Dani
Resources - Musea (Talli) and 1iC

Did I get everyone?